HOTELS July/August 2015 : Page 50

F&B: Kitchen design The open show kitchen at The Bank at Park Hyatt Vienna features prominent exhaust hoods made from backlit selenite stone cladding to draw attention to the action. function Form meets Whether they are on display for guests or not, today’s hotel kitchens employ design strategies focused on more than just utility. by Ann BAgEL STOrck, mAnAging EdiTOr Although Park Hyatt Vienna occupies a century-old historic former bank, its signature restaurant — aptly named The Bank — is focused on the future, at least when it comes to kitchen design. The Bank features 915 square feet (85 square meters) of show kitchen space with a patisserie section, a chef’s table and hot and cold kitchens with promi-nent exhaust hoods made from backlit selenite stone cladding to draw attention to the action. “Our guests want to experience the food and watch it being made,” says Park Hyatt Vienna General Manager Monique Dekker. “Open show kitchens are the future of kitchen design, as guests are looking for an authentic experience.” “In many ways the evolution of hotel guest reception — away from the impos-ing registration counter — is mirrored by the hotel display kitchen, where a more residential and intimate approach is a better fit for today’s traveler,” agrees Michael Goodman, partner and manag-ing director in the Singapore office of EDG Interior Architecture + Design. Even within the genre there is ongoing evolution and innovation. “We just recently installed a micro display kitchen in the middle of a lobby to generate activity and revenue,” says Meg Prendergast, Chicago-based principal at design firm The Gettys Group. “Lobby dwellers can watch their breakfast sandwich, lunch bite or evening salumi platter developed before their eyes in a very integrated way.” Long characterized as strictly back of the house, kitchens are continuing their forward march to become spaces focused on form as much as function. In the fol-lowing pages, HOTELS profiles a range of kitchen spaces that marry aesthetics and utility in a variety of unique ways. 50 HOTELS July/August 2015 www.hotelsmag.com

FROM MEETS FUNCTION

Ann Bagel Storck

Whether they are on display for guests or not, today’s hotel kitchens employ design strategies focused on more than just utility.

Although Park Hyatt Vienna occupies a century-old historic former bank, its signature restaurant — aptly named The Bank — is focused on the future, at least when it comes to kitchen design. The Bank features 915 square feet (85 square meters) of show kitchen space with a patisserie section, a chef’s table and hot and cold kitchens with prominent exhaust hoods made from backlit selenite stone cladding to draw attention to the action.

“Our guests want to experience the food and watch it being made,” says Park Hyatt Vienna General Manager Monique Dekker. “Open show kitchens are the future of kitchen design, as guests are looking for an authentic experience.”

“In many ways the evolution of hotel guest reception — away from the imposing registration counter — is mirrored by the hotel display kitchen, where a more residential and intimate approach is a better fit for today’s traveler,” agrees Michael Goodman, partner and managing director in the Singapore office of EDG Interior Architecture + Design.

Even within the genre there is ongoing evolution and innovation. “We just recently installed a micro display kitchen in the middle of a lobby to generate activity and revenue,” says Meg Prendergast, Chicago-based principal at design firm The Gettys Group. “Lobby dwellers can watch their breakfast sandwich, lunch bite or evening salumi platter developed before their eyes in a very integrated way.”

Long characterized as strictly back of the house, kitchens are continuing their forward march to become spaces focused on form as much as function. In the following pages, HOTELS profiles a range of kitchen spaces that marry aesthetics and utility in a variety of unique ways.

KITCHEN THEATER

The Epicurean Hotel in Tampa, Florida, has no shortage of F&B-focused attractions, but the central showpiece is the 1,500-square-foot (139-square-meter) demonstration kitchen — the Epicurean Theatre. Used for classes, presentations and special events, the space features seating for up to 40, three convection ovens, six gas burners, top-of-the-line cookware and two 70-inch (178-centimeter) televisions for optimal viewing.

“The idea of the theater came to be a pivotal part of the public-area programming so the hotel could foster a sense of a destinational learning experience,” explains Meg Prendergast, Chicago-based principal at The Gettys Group, the space’s lead interior designer.

The demo kitchen is located along the streetscape windows so passersby can observe the activity while the interior entrance is a large barn door with larger-than-life cutlery for hardware. Polished concrete, subway tiles, residentially styled gray-washed cabinetry and stainless-steel appliances round out the post-industrial-warehouse-chic aesthetic.

Even one of the space’s main challenges actually is a benefit, according to Prendergast. She says typically the demo kitchen would back up to the hotel’s main kitchen and pantries, but that was not possible. Instead, the design team needed to keep the area flexible and open so it could get pre-loaded in the morning and then refreshed, cleaned and reloaded throughout the day. “The notion that guests could see the cooking team get prepared was an engaging idea,” Prendergast notes.

OLD & NEW

To say Tuscany’s Toscana Resort Castelfalfi has a rich history is an understatement. Its fine-dining restaurant, La Rocca di Castelfalfi, has a kitchen located in a castle that dates back to approximately 700 A.D. Once a medieval fortress, the castle was transformed into a manor in the 18th century, and the current 970-square-foot (90-square-meter) kitchen was completed in June 2014.

The kitchen serves La Rocca di Castelfalfi’s dinner guests every evening as well as lunch at the resort’s Bistro four days a week. Plus, the kitchen features a pastry-making room that produces special holiday cakes as well as pastries for weekly Sunday brunches.

Francesco Palma, Toscana Resort Castelfalfi’s food and beverage manager, highlights the pastry room as the most significant in terms of design, since in addition to state-of-the-art equipment it features historical decorated vaults.

“The aim of the project was to turn the castle into a suitable venue for the restaurant without threatening its historical nature,” Palma says. “The restructuring operations were carried on with two main guidelines. The first was creating the modern La Rocca di Castelfalfi kitchen with all the necessary adjustments, and the second was maintaining the historic integrity and Tuscan identity of the building, preferring local traditional materials.”

THE FACE BEHIND THE FOOD

Ryuki Kawasaki, recently named chef de cuisine at Mezzaluna, the fine-dining restaurant on the 65th floor of Bangkok’s Tower Club at Lebua, brought nearly 20 years of experience at restaurants throughout Europe, Japan and the United States to the job. Yet Mezzaluna marks the first open kitchen he has worked in, which presents both pros and cons.

HOTELS: What do you like about working in an open kitchen?
Ryuki Kawasaki: It fascinates me to be transparent to my guests. I get to see their expression when the food is served at the table. It is instant feedback for me.

H: What is your biggest challenge working in the kitchen at Mezzaluna?
RK: Temperature control for my food in the open kitchen environment. It can be not hot enough for the hot kitchen area or not cold enough in the cold appetizer station.

H: What kitchen feature is at the top of your wish list right now?
RK: New heat lamps that will be both decorative and functional. Foodtemperature control is my major concern.

H: Over the course of your career, what is the most significant change you have noticed in the way hotel kitchens are designed?
RK: We have incorporated much more modern techniques — water baths, vacuum cooking, nitrogen freezing and rotary distilling, to name a few. Many kitchens today are set up much more like laboratories than traditional kitchens, though we try to blend the two concepts.

JUST LIKE HOME

The key element of the design of the kitchen at Urchin, the restaurant at the 20-key Colony Hotel in Seminyak, Bali, is that it does not feel like a hotel kitchen at all. In designing the 750-squarefoot (70-square-meter) space, EDG Interior Architecture + Design worked closely with Urchin’s chef, Steven Skelly. “He’s like this old-school mad professor who’s just really passionate,” says Michael Goodman, partner and managing director in EDG’s Singapore office. “The big idea for the entire venue was to connect him to the guest as much as possible.”

Consequently, Urchin’s kitchen has a back wall, but all other sides are guestfacing. A table separates the main dining room from the kitchen on one side while the other two sides feature a raw bar where guests can dine and a chef’s table. “We wanted guests to feel like they’re in Steven’s home,” Goodman explains. “The space had to feel warm and welcoming.”

The strategy is working. Goodman says Urchin — which opened in May 2014 and focuses on dinner but also serves breakfast and lunch by the pool to hotel guests — is typically fully booked, even during low season. “We expect a full return on investment before two years,” Goodman predicts.

STARS OF THE SHOW

The Ivy Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland, which opened this summer, is housed in a structure that was first constructed as a mansion. It seems fitting, then, that the 1,200-square-foot (111-square-meter) kitchen for the hotel’s fine-dining restaurant, Magdalena, should have a regal centerpiece: a handmade Molteni cooking suite custom-built in Du Puis, France.

Executive Chef Mark Levy says the suite, which is 9 feet (2.7 meters) long by 5.5 feet (1.7 meters) wide, was constructed to his exact specifications. “We requested that on the suite we had two chrome planca That-top griddle-style cooking tops — one on each side of the suite — a char grill, water boiler and six strong gas burners,” he explains. “We requested it be finished with brass edges and glossy black enamel to provide a classic look.”

The kitchen at Estrella Restaurante, which opened this past March at Welk Resorts Sirena del Mar in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, has a centerpiece of a slightly different variety — a wood-fired oven that can reach temperatures as high as 1,000 degrees F (538 degrees C) and helps Estrella produce perfect pizzas — among other dishes.

“Not only is the oven the focal point of the bar area, but we use it for more than pizza,” says Executive Chef Albert Tamez. “We also smoke some of the vegetable dishes. We bake vegetable lasagna in there. We do suckling pig, slow-roasted for six hours. It’s crazy good.”

What’s more, Tamez says he thinks the wood-fired oven is just one element that helps Estrella stay on trend in terms of what guests really want. “Communal seating, open-fire ovens and upgraded bar service are a few things we see, with more focus on the guest experience and less about gimmicks,” he explains. “We planned Estrella to be a delight to all of the senses.”

Read the full article at http://library.hotelsmag.com/article/FROM+MEETS+FUNCTION/2224893/266418/article.html.

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